KEITH LOOK LOY, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Super League and coach of 2016 Premiership winners FC Santa Rosa, is not giving up on the national men’s football team who suffered another hurdle in their Road to Russia campaign.
Trinidad and Tobago fell to a 2-0 loss to the United States on Thursday night, in their 2018 FIFA World Cup CONCACAF Zone Final Round Qualifier in Denver, Colorado.
Teenage midfielder Christian Pulisic scored both goals for the hosts, who moved up to third place, in the six-team group, with seven points, while T&T are rooted to the bottom with three points.
After five games, Mexico lead with 13 points, with Costa Rica in second spot with eight. Panama (six) and Honduras (four) are the other teams in the group.
The top three teams will earn automatic spots at the World Cup in Russia, while the fourth-placed team will meet the fifth-placed team from the Asia group, in a home-and-away playoff, for a berth in Russia.
During a telephone interview yesterday, Look Loy noted, “It might sound funny but I’m not too worried by the loss because we were never competing with the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica, for a place in Russia. We were never competing with them. We are competing with Honduras and Panama for the fourth-placed team. It was always so, from Match One.” He continued, “We beat Panama in (Mucurapo) and now we have to go to Panama and beat them.
We lost to Honduras but I always think Honduras (are) within Trinidad and Tobago’s reach, and I think we could beat them here. And then you still have to hope, by the grace of God, and a prayer, because we still have to play for something in Mexico City.
“I haven’t given up the ghost yet but if we win against Panama and Honduras, and other results go our way, perhaps something is still possible.” Asked for his opinion on Thursday’s game, Look Loy replied, “I was happy with the fact that we came off the field in a nil-nil (scoreline at halftime). I thought they tried to control the pace of the game, tried to maintain some possession.
They did allow some penetration but Jan-Michael Williams was very well in goal, he did his job.
“But, in the second half, I was a bit perplexed by the fact that (coach Dennis) Lawrence chose to play with three defenders. That left Joevin Jones who was non-existent and 38-year-old Carlos Edwards who (have) 38-year-old legs alone to patrol the flanks, in attack and in defence.” Look Loy went on to state, “As the game wore on, we started to see spaces opening up in the defence because the defence was stretched, we were not defending the flanks well and they got their goals.” This coming Tuesday, the T&T team will tackle Costa Rica (who were held to a goalless draw by Panama on Thursday), at San Jose.
“I saw Costa Rica against Panama and let me tell you (that) the intensity and technical level in that match, played in San Jose, was chalk and cheese with our match against the United States,” Look Loy admitted. “We’re going to San Jose and they’re going to coming for us with all guns blazing. And they will not allow us to play with that very sedate pace that we got away with (against US).”